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How to Ace Your First Days Working as a Dental Assistant

By May 24, 2024No Comments

You’ve put in the hours, pouring over your books, juggling family, work, and life with those studies; you’ve gleaned all you can from your dental assistant program and have absolutely earned that dental assistant certification that you will proudly hang.

Whether this is your first or next career leap, launching in a new position can be both exhilarating and overwhelming.

We’re hoping to ease that a little for you.

We’ve had hundreds of grads stand right where you are, and knowing you’re not alone, along with soaking up a few tips for your first days on the job, can transform jitters into joy.

How to Ace Your 1st Days on the Job After Wrapping Up Dental Assistant College


1. Set the Route and Routine to Bring Calm

You want to make your first mornings easy-peasy, as stress free as possible, from waking and fueling yourself to your commute.

  • Figure out your route to work beforehand. Map out the way and the time and plan to leave early. Grab a coffee in the neighbourhood, so you’re close and can arrive relaxed rather than rushed.
  • Wake early and enjoy getting ready. Lay out your clothes and prepare your healthy breakfast the night before.

2. Set the Tone with a First Impression

No matter how confident you became in your dental assistant course, starting with a new team and putting your skills to the test in the real world can be nerve wracking. Here’s how to shift that:

  • Remember your “why”. Why did you want this career? What makes you passionate about this? Who or what are you doing this for?
  • Recognize your skills. When you think about all you’ve learned and remind yourself that they hired you for a reason, this can bring a sense of knowing that “you’ve got this”.
  • Lead with enthusiasm. Feeling grateful for this opportunity, being excited about learning and meeting new people and doing the best job you can for the patients, takes the focus off you and on to the gift that this job is. If you feel it, your face and words will follow, and excitement is contagious … setting the tone for who you are as a member of this team. Have fun!

3. Observe and Connect with Your Team

Unless you’ve been working at this location for your practicum, this whole experience and place will be new to you.

  • Be like a sponge. Watch, listen, and ask questions (this shows you’re engaged and want to learn).
  • Absorb what the doctor you’re working for says and asks for; this will help you piece together what her/his preferences are.
  • Use people’s names as much as you can; people love their names, and this shows them you want to know them.
  • Stick with it and ask more questions. You’ll pick up the routine and when you show your desire to learn, so often team members want to help you get there quicker.

4. Apply What You Know. Embrace New Systems.

You know what you know, and you don’t what you don’t. Know the difference. From computer systems and phone and office etiquette to customer service protocol and the company culture, recognize you’re there to learn and embrace it all. People respect those who balance knowledge with humility and openness to growth.

5. Make Patients Feel Welcome

Taking the focus off yourself can ease those nerves instantly. When you remember you’re there for the patients and make their time more enjoyable, yours will be too.

6. Be Easy on Yourself

Remember that you’re learning something completely new. Even if you graduated top of your class, and your dental knowledge is stellar, applying it a specific workplace takes practice. You will get it. Don’t be afraid to try and to ask for responsibilities and guidance where you still you feel need it.

7. Maintain Your Positivity. A positive attitude is everything

  • If you make a mistake, own it and be positive about the lesson you learned.
  • If you hear office gossip, avoid it and be positive, and speak respectfully about, everyone you work with and the patients you serve.
  • If you feel a frustration, see how you can resolve it. If you need help, ask.
  • And in it all remain focused on the opportunity that this job is for you – it’s what you’ve earned after all your hard work. Whether you’re there for years or life, this position is one that will be as enriching as you allow it to be.

Every new career comes with challenges and amazing chances to grow and become more, professionally and personally. With dedication, patience and time, your colleagues will feel like family and the life you imagined will be somehow even more amazing than you could have dreamed.

Are you exploring careers and considering whether you want to become a dental assistant? Take our “Dental Professional Career Discovery Quiz”.

If you haven’t yet started your dental assistant career, you can learn more about our Intra Oral Dental Assistant program here and then book a virtual appointment with our Admissions team. We’d love to help you navigate your way from program selection to launch so that you too are considering those awesome first days on the job.

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